‘Raise the Bar’ is VIBE Hip-Hop Reporter Preezy Brown’s New Music Friday column. Each week he picks one Hip-Hop song or album that deserves your attention all weekend (but don’t worry, he’s also got a roundup of honorable mentions below).
After the release of a succession of hit singles, including the remix to her breakout smash “No More Parties,” Coi Leray has unleashed her debut album, Trendsetter. Comprised of 20 songs, the robust LP finds the Massachusetts-born, New Jersey-bred rapper covering the gamut of emotions. Throughout, she unveils her innermost thoughts, from navigating the pressures of stardom to grappling with the lowlights of heartbreak and disappointment.
While moments of vulnerability are littered throughout the album, Trendsetter is by no means a solemn album, as Leray ratchets up the energy throughout the proceedings. Standouts like “Mountains” featuring Fivio Foreign and Young M.A., the G Herbo-assisted “Thief in the Night,” and “Box & Papers” are among its more unbridled offerings.
Yet, it’s when Leray dials down the bravado and leans into her feelings that make for some of Trendsetter‘s more endearing moments, such as “Heart In A Coffin,” “Too Far,” and “Anxiety.” Stacked with a murderer’s row of guest appearances including Nicki Minaj, Yung Bleu, Fivio Foreign, Young M.A, G Herbo, H.E.R., Nav, Lil Durk, Wallo267, King Gillie, Polo G, Lil Tecca, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and Pooh Shiesty, Trendsetter affords Leray an abundance of star power.
However, Leray avoids using those reinforcements as a crutch, as she impresses off the strength of her own merits, turning in a strong showing with Trendsetter that surely raises the bar this New Music Friday and is indicative of her value and potential staying power.
Elsewhere in Hip-Hop, this week’s slate of new rap releases is loaded with quality drops from a mix of seasoned vets, rising stars, and buzzworthy upstarts.
CMG’s dynamic duo of 42 Dugg and EST Gee team up for Last Ones Left, a collaborative project with features from 42 Cheez, Reaper, Tae Money, EST DeMike, EST Red, EST Zo, and BIG30. Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA, and producer Girl Talk join forces for Full Court Press, a joint album that includes guest spots from Nile Rodgers and Curren$y.
After unleashing his self-titled effort last year, Vince Staples makes a swift return with Ramona Park Broke My Heart, the Long Beach native’s fifth studio album, which includes contributions from Lil Baby, Ty Dolla $ign, and Mustard. And last but not least, Gunplay and rising Bronx rapper B-Lovee each turn in solo efforts in ALL Bullsh**t Aside and Misunderstood, respectively.